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Tom Brady: ‘Don’t think we have it all figured out’ 12.08.10 at 12:14 pm ET
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FOXBORO — Sounding a tone of humility, Tom Brady said the Patriots return to practice completely focused on the Chicago Bears and not basking in the afterglow of Monday’s 45-3 thrashing of the New York Jets.

“I don’t think we have it all figured out,” said Brady, who was honored with his second straight AFC Offensive Player of the Week award. “We certainly don’t. It was a good win on Monday night but it doesn’t do anything for us.”

The Patriots have scored 45 points in each of their last two wins. Before that the Patriots scored 31 in a win against the Colts and 39 against the Steelers, prompting questions and comparisons to the 2007 Patriots, which set the NFL all-time record for points scored. Brady shot down the comparison immediately.

“I wouldn’t say so,” Brady said. “We’re not even close to that. Entirely different team in style than what we’re trying to accomplish here.”

In other words, this offense can be just as productive as the machine of ’07 without having to go deep to Randy Moss. Then again, when you don’t have Randy Moss, that doesn’t leave you much of an option. Still, the Patriots haven’t missed a single beat without him in the last month.

And it shows by how Brady has spread the wealth among his receivers. Since the loss in Cleveland, Rob Gronkowski has three TDs (all vs. Pittsburgh); Deion Branch has three; Aaron Hernandez two; and Wes Welker four.

“Anyway you can gain them,” Brady said of the yards and scoring production in the offense. “I think that’€™s really a strength of what our guys are able to do. There’€™s very good quickness by our team, by Wes, by Brandon [Tate], Aaron, Deion. All those guys can run after the catch. If you get it in their hands they’€™re very dangerous with it. We’€™ve got to continue to get the ball in their hands so they can do that. That was really something that we went into last week saying, ‘€˜Alright guys, this is what we got to do. After we catch it we got to make some yards.’€™’€

Brady, who kept his presser a bit briefer than normal, seemed focused on maintaining the rhythm the offense has found since the 34-14 pounding to the Browns on Nov. 7.

“We’€™re just trying to get the ball in the end zone,” Brady said. “That’€™s what our job is. We don’€™t go out there to punt. I always said that he doesn’€™t send us out there and say, ‘€˜Run three plays. We’€™ll send the punt team out.’€™ We’€™re trying to go out there to score and sometimes we do it and other times we haven’€™t. I think we’€™ve been the beneficiaries of a lot of turnovers by our defense, which has really helped us. Situationally, we’€™ve got to continue to do a better job as well like before the half last week, before the end of the game not really being productive there.”

Read More: Chicago Bears, Deion Branch, New England Patriots, nfl
WEEI NFL Power Rankings: Week 14 at 10:01 am ET
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For the fourth straight week, the Patriots rule in the WEEI NFL Power Rankings. The Pats‘ 45-3 clobbering of the Jets makes Bill Belichick‘s team the clear-cut favorite for the No. 1 spot. Soaring not far behind are the Falcons at No. 2. The Patriots will defend their top spot against the Bears (7) in Chicago this Sunday while the Falcons have the pleasure of traveling to North Carolina to take on the Panthers (32).

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers (3)  jump back into the top five after their huge road win against the Ravens (5).  Marching in at No. 4 are the defending champion Saints.

The Colts have lost four of their last five games and continue to take a nose-dive in the rankings. Their only win in that stretch came against the 2-10 Bengals (31). Peyton Manning and the defending AFC champions drop to 14.

The bottom seven teams remain the same as all of them suffered another loss in Week 13.

1. (1) 10-2 The Patriots are in first place because they continue to win the turnover battle. Tom Brady hasn’t thrown an interception in his last seven games. The Pats are also atop their conference with a plus-14 in the giveaway/takeaway differential category. If the Pats can lock up home-field advantage and a first-round bye, it’s tough not to like their chances of reaching yet another Super Bowl. The Brady-Belichick combination is just too difficult to beat when playing in Foxboro during the playoffs.

2. (3) 10-2 Matt Ryan has led the Falcons to six fourth-quarter comeback drives. The Falcons have one of the most balanced offensive game plans in football. They can run and pass the ball effectively. Two of their remaining four games are against the 1-11 Panthers. That makes the Falcons’ chances of winning the NFC and gaining home-field advantage throughout the playoffs very good.

3. (6) 9-3 The offensive line is in shambles. The latest injury for the Steelers comes to starting right tackle Flozell Adams. He suffered a high ankle sprain in Sunday night’s slugfest against the Ravens. Roethlisberger needs better protection if the Steelers want to go deep into the playoffs.

4. (5) 9-3 The defending champs have won five straight games and are in a race for the NFC South division. They’ll also be adding more firepower to their offense. Pierre Thomas is set to return after suffering an injury in the first month of the season.

5. (4) 8-4 The Ravens crumpled in the fourth quarter and gave up 10 unanswered points to the Steelers. The loss to Pittsburgh puts them in a tough position going forward as they will likely have to settle for a wild card playoff spot.

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Bill Belichick on The Big Show: ‘A good game all the way around’ 12.07.10 at 5:34 pm ET
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Patriots coach Bill Belichick appeared Tuesday on The Big Show to discuss the Patriots’ 45-3 victory Monday night over the Jets and preview Sunday’s matchup with the 9-3 Bears.

“The players really did a good job,” Belichick said. “We had a good week of practice and preparation, and it certainly came together for the most part last night. I just think the players did a really good job; captains Jerod [Mayo] and Vince [Wilfork] on defense and Tom [Brady] and Alge [Crumpler] on offense.”

Following are highlights from the conversation. To hear the entire interview, visit The Big Show audio on demand page.

It was a good night of football last night, wasn’t it?

It was, Glenn. The players really did a good job. We had a good week of practice and preparation, and it certainly came together for the most part last night. I just think the players did a really good job; captains Jerod and Vince on defense and Tom and Alge on offense.

Kevin Faulk was around a lot this week; I think he had a lot of good things to help our football team prepare for the game and being in the right frame of mind and all that. I think those guys, along with a lot of the veteran players, really did a good job of really getting the team to a good point and we were out there able to execute well last night, and we really played a good game all the way around ‘€” got off to a fast start and we were able to sustain it for 60 minutes.

What is Kevin Faulk doing with these players since he’s not out there? How does he help or impact the team since he can’t be out on the field with them?

Well, he’s around. He’s in getting treatment and doing rehab. But he’s around and certainly brings a great well of experience and confidence, and the participation he’s had in the games and what they’re like and how to approach them and how to prepare for them and what to expect. I think it’s invaluable the insight who’s been in those situations can give the players who either haven’t played or haven’t been in very many of them. I mean, pretty much everybody on the team played the Jets in September, but it’s a little bit different this time of year, and the second time around. Kevin gives a great perspective on what’s important and how to win the game, and no player is more unselfish than Kevin is, and I think he can impart some of that wisdom and experience toward other members of the team.

You also had [Tedy] Bruschi out there, too.

Yeah, it was great to see Tedy. It’s great to see him recognized, he certainly embodies everything that the New England Patriots stand for, and his performance is excellent; his teamwork, his energy, his unselfish play, his success on the field, captainship and leadership that he’s given us throughout the years is just awesome. To have this kind of game on his night is really a great combining of forces, so it was awesome.

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The Big Nickel: What Bill Belichick told his team and breaking down the Tom Brady-Rob Gronkowski connection at 4:55 pm ET
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The five most important things you need to know about the Patriots today.

1. On Monday night, it was late in the second half, and the Patriots weren’€™t letting up on the throttle. New England had scored yet another touchdown, and were set to kick off to the Jets when Patriots coach Bill Belichick gathered the entire team around him on the sideline for one very distinct message: ‘€œListen, this game isn’€™t over ‘€” we’€™re playing for 60 minutes,’€ Belichick said. ‘€œI don’€™t give a [expletive] what the score is. We’€™re playing for 60 minutes.’€

It was a clear message to a team that had suffered some defensive letdowns in the second half of recent wins against the Colts and Steelers.

‘€œThat’€™s something that we’€™ve been talking about all season,’€ quarterback Tom Brady told WEEI on Tuesday morning. ‘€œWe played ‘€” like the Steelers, for example, we had a great three quarters and then didn’€™t play well in the fourth quarter. The Colts ‘€” we had a great three quarters, didn’€™t play well in the fourth quarter. So, even though we’€™re playing well through three quarters in this game, it’€™s like, ‘€˜OK, guys, this is what we’€™ve been talking about. We’€™re not playing a great 48 minutes, 52 minutes, 59 minutes. We’€™re playing a great 60 minutes.’€™ That’€™s what he was talking about.’€

The ‘€œ60 minute’€ mantra isn’€™t new for the Patriots. It’€™s something they preached throughout the 2007 season ‘€” they even had t-shirts made up with the motto on them. Of course, if you do go hard for 60 minutes, you run the risk of saying you are running up the score (as we all saw on an almost weekly basis throughout the 2007 season). Jets coach Rex Ryan hinted darkly at it in his postgame press conference, saying, ‘€œTrust me, we will remember this.’€ Meanwhile Belichick said he never really thought about the idea of yanking his starters down the stretch.

‘€œI think about trying to win the game,’€ Belichick said on a conference call with reporters on Tuesday afternoon. ‘€œI think about a team like the Jets that’€™s come back several times this year when it looks like they were out of the game and [they] came back to tie it or win it or win it in overtime. I don’€™t think that any game is really won until you’€™re absolutely certain that the number of possessions the team has is fewer than the amount of scores that they need.

‘€œWhen you see those leads diminish in the fourth quarter ‘€“ which, unfortunately, we’€™ve seen a few times; so has everybody else ‘€“ then you look at it a little bit differently. When they don’€™t diminish, then you want to go on and talk about what the final score was, but that’€™s not the score while the game is still going on. They still have a number of possessions left in the game. Turnovers, a lot of things like that, can happen. You play to win.’€

2. As much grief as he took for the job the offense did last season, Patriots quarterbacks coach Bill O’€™Brien ‘€” who holds great sway when it comes to offensive play-calling because of a lack of an offensive coordinator ‘€” deserves to take some credit for the performance of the offense, particularly over the last four weeks when the Patriots have posted wins over Pittsburgh, Indianapolis, Detroit and the Jets, and have averaged 40 points in the process.

O’€™Brien was asked if there was a time since he’€™s been doing the play calling that this offense has been more efficient and productive.

‘€œIt’€™s a process of a week-to-week. It’€™s like 16 one-game seasons. So week-to-week we look at the opponent and it’€™s been a collaborative effort between a lot of guys starting with Bill and then Dante [Scarnecchia], Ivan [Fears], myself, Brian Ferentz, Chad O’€™Shea, and the players have some input, too. We’€™ve got a lot of experienced players that have played a lot of football.

‘€œAs far as how efficient we’€™ve been and all those things, that’€™s good, but again, we’€™re going into a game this week that this is a team that’€™s third in the league in points allowed and fourth in yards allowed,’€ he added. ‘€œWe’€™ve got to put together a plan that’€™s going to be good for Chicago, and let’€™s see how efficient we are against them. Last night, we executed the game plan the way we wanted to for the most part. I’€™d say the last two drives of the first half weren’€™t real good. But for the most part, we executed it pretty well.’€

O’€™Brien and the New England offense are in rarified air: With the 45 points against the Jets, the Patriots have now scored 30 or more points in seven games in 2010 and lead the NFL with 379 points this season (31.6 points per game). In addition, the Patriots are on pace to score 505 points this season, a total that would rank second in franchise history to the Patriots’€™ NFL record-setting 2007 total of 589 points.

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Read More: Big Nickel, Bill Belichick, Bill O'Brien, Eric Smith
Transcript of Tom Brady on D&C at 10:53 am ET
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Patriots quarterback Tom Brady checked in with the Dennis & Callahan show for his weekly conversation Tuesday morning, following Monday night’s 45-3 rout of the Jets.

Considering his past comments about his distaste for the Jets, Brady was asked if he now felt sorry for New York following the Monday night embarrassment.

“I would never, never feel sorry for the Jets. There’s no chance,” Brady said with a laugh. “I have a lot of old players, Patriot players and Patriot coaches, that texted me after the game last night and expressed their views on the Jets as well. There’s no love lost between the current Patriots and the current Jets, or the former Patriots and the former Jets. It’s such a great rivalry, and I think we bring out the best out of each other.”

Following is a transcript of the conversation. To hear the interview, go to the Dennis & Callahan audio on demand page.

How long does it take the adrenaline flow to calm down after a win like last night? What time did you drift off this morning?

Probably 2, 2:30.

Over the years, you’ve had your share of fun playing football. Super Bowl wins aside, was that about the most enjoyable four quarters of football you can remember?

[Laughs] You know what, I don’t really enjoy it until it’s over. Because the whole game you’re so into it. We’ve got a six-touchdown lead with six minutes left and I’m still going, “God, is there a way for them to come back?” You just never really let off the gas pedal until the game’s over. But the problem is, once the game’s over, we’ve already moved on to Chicago. So, you don’t get a chance to enjoy them too often. That’s not the nature of it. And we’re caught up in this marathon of the season. You’ve just got to keep plugging away.

There’s no doubt, it was a great night. It’s a big win for us. I will say it means that we put ourselves in a pretty good position. But that really doesn’t guarantee us anything. All it means is that, hey, OK, we’ve got a good opportunity now, let’s see what we do with an opportunity. The guys were real excited after the game. Playing a very good team on Monday night, at home, the crowd was rocking. It was a great win for us.

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Bill Belichick postgame transcript at 2:17 am ET
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FOXBORO — Courtesy of the Patriots, here’s the transcript of Bill Belichick’s postgame press conference:

BB: Well that was a really great effort by our players tonight. I’€™m really proud of them. I thought that this was the best 60 minutes of football we’€™ve played all year. We had a good week of practice and everybody was really focused and we just got a lot of solid play from really everybody. It was a good night for us. We’€™ll take it. The Jets are a good football team. I’€™m sure we haven’€™t heard the last from them, but tonight was our night. I’€™m glad it could be on Tedy Bruschi night. I’€™m sure this is a game that Tedy is proud of and he was a part of many like this, so I think we got a little inspiration from him tonight

Q: You guys went for it on fourth-and-two toward the end of the first half toward the open end of the stadium. In pregame warm-ups it looked pretty windy down there.

BB: It was.

Q: How much did that affect your decision?

BB: I think it affected it. You know, we kicked earlier but that was fourth-and-seven or eight, whatever it was. Fourth-and-two just kind of felt like it was fourth-and-short and we’€™d have a pretty good chance to [convert], instead of the long field goal. It was a tough kick. That was a heck of a kick by Shayne [Graham], the first one. What was it 43 yards or something? With the wind and it was a cross wind’€¦It was a tough kick, but he hooked it right in perfectly, just the way I would like to hit a golf shot but never can. But that was really a big part of the decision. If it had been fourth-and-nine, we would have kicked it again.

Q: On Brandon Spikes‘€™ pick, how did he end up with it? Did he just do his normal thing?

BB: Yeah, that’€™s where he was on the coverage. It looked like a play-action pass, what we call a pop pass where they fake in there hard and try to hit it over the middle, similar to the play the Colts scored against us on. Similar to that. Brandon made a great play; he made a nice catch. You know, Pepper [Johnson] throws balls at all of those guys every week, fires it in there and makes them catch the ball. And it was kind of like the be-on-the-line drill that the linebackers do with Pepper every Friday, so it was a nice catch

Q: It looked like you threw a lot of different guys out there in different fronts and did some shifting. Do you think that played a role in your success tonight?

BB: Yeah, I don’€™t know. I don’€™t know. We played about what we usually play. I don’€™t think it was any big deal. I’€™m sure it’€™s nothing that they haven’€™t seen before. Read the rest of this entry »

Read More: Bill Belichick, Tom Brady,
Game notes from Patriots vs. Jets at 1:47 am ET
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FOXBORO — Courtesy of the Patriots, here are the game notes from the Patriots’ 45-3 win over the Jets:

Tom Brady set an NFL record for most consecutive home wins as a starting quarterback. Tonight’€™s win over the Jets was Brady’€™s 26th straight win in a regular-season home start, passing Brett Favre‘€™s previous record of 25 straight wins (1995-98) for the NFL record. The last time the Patriots lost a regular-season home game in which Brady started was on Nov. 12, 2006 against the New York Jets.

Player Team Years Streak
Tom Brady NE 2006-Present 26
Brett Favre GB 1995-98 25
John Elway DEN 1996-98 22
Bob Griese MIA 1971-74 20
Randall Cunningham PHI 1990-94 20

The Patriots won their 14th straight regular-season home game, and have not lost a regular-season game in Foxborough since Nov. 30, 2008. New England’€™s 14-game home winning streak is double the next longest current streak in the NFL (Atlanta, 7). The Patriots are one of just three teams (along with Atlanta and Kansas City) that have current streaks of more than four straight home wins. New England’€™s 14 straight regular-season home wins are the second longest such streak in team history, trailing only the team-record 18 straight home wins from Dec. 2002 to Sept. 2005.

Team Wins Last Loss
New England Patriots 14 11/30/08
Atlanta Falcons 7 12/13/09
Kansas City Chiefs 6 12/20/09
Philadelphia Eagles 4 10/03/10 Read the rest of this entry »

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